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Posts Tagged ‘neuroscience’


I have written the following to my Brexit Party Representatives in the European Parliament. At the heart of parliamentary democracy is the idea that our representatives do indeed represent the interests of their constituents, regardless of Party politics. Of course interests have to be balanced but when these are win-win, there can be no reason for not representing a particular interest. As the matter is not a personal one, then I have also put it on my blog, since there is no reason for secrecy.

I will, of course, post any further correspondence, unless it is confidential for some reason.

“Dear Ms Fox (& cc’ed to Mr Nielsen and Mr Bull)

I am writing to you as one of your constituents regarding an issue which affects me personally and the region. As a University Professor I have over the years been awarded research funds from various Framework Programmes. Most recently, I am part of the €4M FET-OPEN programme “ArrestAD”. This aims to test a new paradigm for Alzheimer’s Disease screening and lay the foundation for a new class of drugs that would arrest the disease.

FET-OPEN projects are very much blue skies and in our case we appear to have hit the jackpot. The trials of the diagnostic in Paris and Warsaw  are quite spectacular and our own work has shown that the targets which ArrestAD has proposed are eminently druggable.

ArrestAD is a 4 year programme. As in any blue skies research, towards the end of the penultimate year a decision is made by the research team whether we should apply for a new, larger project, under one of the translational programmes available under H2020, or to can the idea, in the event it isn’t going to deliver.

Since ArrestAD is delivering its promise, the team will be going forward and applying for a translational programme. This will involve further clinical centres and greater industry participation, since we need more patients and, for drug development, far greater resource.

Alzheimer’s being what it is, ArrestAD obviously impacts widely and not just on myself: there are substantial social and economic ramifications for our region, the UK, and beyond.

The problem we face is that with a so-called No Deal Brexit, the UK loses access to funding from H2020 and the future framework programme. There is no  legislation in the UK Parliament that would guarantee funding as a 3rdcountry. The upshot is that Brexit will prevent my continued contribution to this likely life-changing research programme. Importantly, it will prevent the UK from reaping economic benefit (clinical trials, pharmaceutical industry).

As my representative in the European Parliament, it is imperative that you work to find a solution, which ensures that the drug development arm of this project remains based in the UK, and that the UK is able to participate fully in the wider clinical trials of the diagnostic. I think you would agree that given the impact of this dreadful disease, this is in everyone’s interests.”

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Two postdoc positions are available in my lab.

Both are part of the larger, European Commission-funded FET-Open programme, ArrestAD, which has recently been funded.

Position 1 aims to characterise heparin-binding proteins in Alzhiemer’s disease.

Position 2 aims to develop inhibitors to Golgi sulfotransferases. (more…)

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ArrestAD

The ArrestAD team had its kick off meeting in Paris on 5 January 2017. This was held on Paris, the base of our coordinator, Dulcé Papy-Garcia and was hosted by the APHP in the Espace Scipion. Team members from outside Paris stayed at the Hotel La Demeure  situated nearby and though on the Boulevard St Marcel, nice and quiet.

The kick off meeting started with a presentation form our coordinator, which provided the backdrop for the day. Science presentations from the participants then followed. These provided an overview of the position of the field of the participant and then summarised research plans. In a multidisciplinary project, one cannot be fully up to speed with the other fields, so we all learned a lot. The more technical part of these presentations gave us an opportunity to discus the nuts and bolts of our research plans and how these fitted together. It…

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David Paramelle’s paper on using gold nanoparticles stoichiometrically functionalised with a peptide that recognises sphingolipids has just been published in Advanced Healthcare Materials (Publisher’s site; Pubmed)

The paper is the classic “Sunday afternoon” project, which arose through discussions with Rachel Kraut at NTU.

As ever, a lot more than Sunday afternoons ended up being put into the paper, because David had to develop some new approaches. Particularly nice was the purification of nanoparticles functionalised with the sphingomyelin-binding peptide (called “SBD”) from non-functionalised nanoparticles. This is a key step for the preparation of nanoparticles carrying just one functional peptide or group. Hitherto, we have happily had affinity tags as the functional group, which allows for affinity chromatography (examples here, here and here). (more…)

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The Fibroblast Growth Factor Gordon Research conference is biennial, so it almost follows a Martian calendar and next year it will be five years old. The fifth Gordon Research conference on Fibroblast Growth Factors will be held in Ventura, California, March 1-7 2014. This is THE meeting for all things FGF and assembles an eclectic mix of leaders in the field, young PIs, industry scientists and scientists in training. A Gordon Research Seminar will precede the full meeting. This was introduced at the last GRC (May 2012) and was very successful. (more…)

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Two recent retractions on Retraction Watch merit more than a passing mention, because they demonstrate, yet again, the wildly different and completely contradictory reactions of individuals and journals to data that turn out to be problematic. In one sense this is an update post on “Chalk and Cheese“, “Re-use of “stripes”“, “Correct correction?” and “Data re-use warrants correction at PNAS“. (more…)

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LT1 at 1 pm
Prof Dave Allsop from Lancaster University will give a seminar entitled “Protein oligomers as toxins, biomarkers and molecular targets for neurodegenerative disease”

Buffet lunch will be available in the Committee Room from 12 noon.

The formation of fibrillar aggregates from a range of different proteins is a common feature of numerous different ‘protein conformational’ diseases. In these diseases, normally soluble proteins are deposited in the form of insoluble fibrils inside and/or outside of cells. In the systemic amyloidoses, extracellular fibrillar deposits (often called amyloid) can be found in many different tissues and organs throughout the body. Localised deposits are found in some other diseases, such as late-onset diabetes, where they are restricted to the pancreas, and some important neurodegenerative diseases, where they are often found only in the brain. Examples of the latter include Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, the prion diseases (e.g. CJD in humans), Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and motor neuron disease. David’s  research is concerned with the pathological role of these misfolded proteins, and is focussed mainly on neurodegenerative disease and late-onset (type 2) diabetes.

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